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Historia (Santiago)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7194


HIRMAS FERNANDEZ, Emerson. Medicina, infancia y familia: La viruela como problema social en la provincia de Atacama (1860-1920). Historia (Santiago) [online]. 2019, vol.52, n.2, pp.439-469. ISSN 0717-7194.

This article studies the social experience of smallpox as one of the most continuous and relevant educational vectors of medical and hygienic concerns, in the transformation of the disease as a social problem at the beginning of the twentieth century. This study focuses on the province of Atacama (Chile 1860-1920), an area not yet investigated, where the mining boom caused urban expansion and the concentration of the population, elements that favored the entry and circulation of the disease. Through a sociocultural interpretation, the attention given to the disease is analyzed, deepening around the specificities of the vaccination campaigns and the function of the lazaretto. The medical reaction to precarious institutions was raised as a way to demand state participation. Lastly, the medical concerns about childhood are studied, in its transition from a subject of medical study to the valorization of the child as a fundamental element of the Chilean race, whose salvation from the disease made it indispensable to instruct the family regarding hygienic knowledge that will act through rational practices in their domestic environment.

Keywords : Chile; Nineteenth Century; Smallpox; Medicine; Childhood; Family; Catholicism; Atacama.

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